JUNE 18: Bharat Karnad, member of the National Security Council Advisory Board, today said that Pakistan had not done anything illegal by intruding upon the Line of Control.
``The LoC is an elastic concept. Unless it is converted into an international border, international law allows either side to change it to their advantage,'' Karnad said.
The defense and foreign policy analyst was addressing a meeting of the Indian Council of World Affairs in the city on Friday.
The Kargil situation would not escalate into a total war because both countries had nuclear weapons, he said speaking on the relevance of nuclear deterrence. ``But it doesn't deter from conventional pin-pricks, which is what Kargil is.'' The Kargil situation would eventually result in both sides sitting down to negotiate after the Pakistani intruders had been expelled, he predicted.
International opinion was building up in favour of a de-escalation of the conflict since the West feared an escalation of the situation in thesub-continent.
Kargil was all about India not pushing its advantage in 1971. The country was naive was not extending the LoC at a time when it had the advantage of having captured 93,000 Pakistani troops. All the Simla agreement said was that the border issue would be negotiated at a later date.
But Pakistan could never be the real threat. ``India will be gravely hurt in a nuclear war, but Pakistan stands to be annihilated,'' he said.
``Pakistan is the catspaw, deal with the cat,'' said Karnad, adding that the real adversaries were the US and China.
Karnad is currently formulating India's nuclear doctrine and the Strategic Defence Review mapping out the future on the NSC's advisory board. He said that the government's declaration of no-first use made immediately after Pokharan-II had created problems for the country's nuclear deterrent. This appeared to be a bid to burnish India's reputation for being peace loving.
``There is no such thing as a survivable second strike,'' said the analyst, referringto a hypothetical scenario where India retaliates with nuclear weapons after its cities have been hit first. ``You can't handle the first showers of a monsoon, can a state or central government sit back and launch a second strike?,'' he asked.
The five nuclear weapon states had imposed a nuclear hegemony and were now in the process of perfecting thermo-nukes or micro yield fusion weapons. These fourth-generation nuclear weapons had a yield of less than one tonne. Furthermore, sub-critical tests of these weapons were allowed by the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) ``How are you going to stop them?''.
The answer was to immediately go in for Inter Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) tipped with thermonuclear weapons. ``The PSLV is ready as an ICBM. All we have to do is to cut down two stages and voila, it's an ICBM,'' said Karnad.
This deterrence was not just paranoia, but a fact of life, he said. For if Yugoslavia or Iraq had even one nuclear weapon, there would have been no air strikes onthem.
He calculated a defence expenditure of Rs 700,000 crore over the next 30 years to build up a credible deterrence comprising ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) and ICBMs.
Copyright © 1999 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.